Spring Training

Spring Training Games 15, 16, and 17: Weekend Edition

The Yankees played three games over the weekend against the Phillies, Tigers, and Braves. They took the first two, but lost to the Braves on Sunday. Their spring training record (which means absolutely nothing and is in no way correlative to regular season success) improves to 13-4. Here’s a quick recap of those games.

Friday: Yankees 5, Phillies 0

Finally, FINALLY, some good pitching….sort of. The Yankees secured the shutout, but it was an ugly one, allowing 0 runs on 9 H and 8 (!) BB. Throw in a fielding error by 2B Starlin Castro and this game becomes more about the failures of the Phillies’ offense than the triumphs of the Yankees pitching.

Chad Green got the start. He went 2 IP, giving up 2 of those hits and 3 walks, while striking out 2. 5 base runners in 2 innings? Not great. But at least he got out of it. That was pretty much the story of the game.

Chance Adams had a similarly eventful outing, pitching 1 inning and walking 3. He did, however, strike out the side, which is exciting in its own right, no matter what was happening in between the K’s.

Then there was Justus Sheffield, who came in to pitch in the 6th. He went 2 IP, allowing 3 H and 2 BB (we’ll call it a reverse Chad Green), while striking out 3. Not pretty lines, but the outcome wasn’t nearly as drastic as it probably should have been. It’s definitely not ideally what you want to see out of your pitchers in spring training, but getting out of jams is a skill, possibly an underrated one, that you definitely want to see in young guys like these.

The offensive side of the ball was a little more uplifting, and far more efficient, scoring 5 runs on 6 hits. The scoring opened with a 3-run HR by 3B Chase Headley in the 1st inning. Take a look at that moonshot here:

Hooked right around the right field pole. A nice hit by Headley, who’s currently batting .200 on the spring, which will probably come as a surprise to very few.

The only other RBI in the game came from the myth, the legend, the giant f***ing man himself, Aaron Judge, who absolutely unloaded on a ball, a straight up no doubter, into the right field seats in the 6th.

Opposite field power! And it’s crazy how effortless his swing looks when he makes contact like that. It’s one thing to have a 6’7 275 lbs frame, but knowing how to use it can and will lead to some scary results.

Some other lines of note:

CF Aaron Hicks: 0-3, 2 K
C Gary Sanchez: 0-3, 2 K
1B Greg Bird: 2-3, 1 R, 1 double
LF Clint Frazier: 1-3
SS Tyler Wade: 1-3, 1 R, 1 double
RHP Jonathan Holder: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 R
LHP Jon Niese: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 R

You can catch the full box score here, and video highlights here.

Saturday: Yankees 7, Tigers 1

Finally, FINALLY, some actually, ACTUALLY good pitching. I’m serious. Saturday was Tanaka Time and there was nothing the Tigers bats could do about it. The ace went 4 IP, 4 perfect innings that is, while striking out 7. Tanaka has been on point this spring. He’s yet to allow a run and the stuff looks great. I mean, just look at it:

Not only did he pick up the 7 strikeouts, but 6 of them were swinging! Ken Singleton sounded like a broken record on the YES broadcast. “Swing and a miss! Strike 3….Swing and a miss! Strike 3….Swing and a miss! Strike 3….” Tanaka’s command looks as sharp as it’s ever been, and the splitter is on point so far in the preseason. Exciting stuff.

Starting rotation candidate LHP Bryan Mitchell had himself an outing as well, going 4 strong while allowing 1 ER on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 2. It was probably Mitchell’s strongest showing of the spring.

The bombers on the other side of the ball were in top form as well, with home runs from Gary Sanchez (2-3, 2 R, 3 RBI), Matt Holliday (1-3, 1 R, 3 RBI), and with his first dinger in a Yankees spring training uniform, Gleyber Torres (1-2, 1 R, 1 RBI). I don’t know if the team will come anywhere near matching this type of offensive production during the regular season, but for now it’s been damn fun to watch.

Here are some other lines of note:

LF Brett Gardener: 1-3, 1 R
CF Jacoby Ellsbury: 2-3, 2 R. He’s picked his average up to .400 on the spring.
1B Greg Bird: 1-3, 1 double
RF Aaron Judge: 0-3, 1 K
3B Miguel Andujar: 1-1, 1 double
RHP J.R. Graham: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 R

You can catch the full box score here, and video highlights here.

Sunday: Braves 10, Yankees 2

Sunday’s game was a complete and total disaster in just about every single way imaginable, even for a spring training game. Actually, the pitching wasn’t quite as bad as the final score might lead you to think, but it sure wasn’t great.

C.C. Sabathia got the start, but he never made it out of the first inning. He went 0.2 IP, allowing 6 R (4 ER) on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 1. C.C. looked good in his first start of the spring. He looked real bad in this one. That’s what ST is for though. Hopefully he uses this game to work out some of the kinks.

The really crazy thing about this game though is that every single earned run allowed by the Yankees was given up in the 1st inning, which means the Braves plated 4 more runs (6 in total) due to Yankee errors. That’s exactly what happened. Starlin Castro had a fielding error at 2B and Miguel Andujar had a throwing error at 3B, but it was Ronald Torreyes who put on the real show at third, committing 3 fielding errors in less than a full game’s worth of playing time. Ouch. Ouch, ouch ouch. We know Torreyes is a better fielder than that, so this was a pretty flukey game for him, but still. What a bad day. On top of the errors, he went hitless in the game.

Which brings us to the offensive side of the ball, where the Yankees managed 2 runs on just 4 hits. The only walked twice as well. With the Braves committing 0 errors on the day, that brings us to a total of 6 base runners in 9 innings. The only runs came on solo shots from Austin Romine (1-2, 1 R, 1 RBI) and Jorge Mateo (1-2, 1 R, 1 RBI). Otherwise, not a super exciting game, at least not in any of the good ways.

Here are the very few other lines of note:

LF Brett Gardner: 0-3
CF Jacoby Ellsbury: 0-3
2B Starlin Castro: 1-3
C Kyle Higashioka: 1-1, 1 double
DH Greg Bird: 0-1, 1 BB, 1 K
RHP Ben Heller: 1.1 IP, 1 H
LHP Aroldis Chapman: 1 IP, 0 H, 1 BB
RHP Domingo German: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K

You can catch the full box score here, and video “highlights” here.

Today the Yankees take on…..no one? No one. Devastating. They have the day off. Tomorrow they square off against the Tampa Bay Rays though, so take the day to mentally prepare for that one.

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